Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

\LTH CONSEQUENCES OF POPULATION DENSITY                                   473
ups who were distinct minorities in the neighborhoods in which they lived, people living alone in one room, in those who had had multiple occupa-lal and residential moves, and who were single or divorced than he found the general population. Similar findings have been found in respect to .er respiratory diseases, schizophrenia, accidents, and suicide (49-52). One the concomitants of increasing population density, particularly when it is Delated with increasing urbanization, is the atomization of the groups that ivide emotional support and presumably some degree of protection for the ividual in rural folk societies. Although, in the course of time, new types groups develop to fulfill some of the functions originally played by the lily and kin group, it is often difficult, particularly for the newcomer to h scenes, to become effectively integrated into such groups. Finally, the question of a specific relationship between given social factors I particular diseases must be raised. Are the social processes (both positive I negative) inherent in membership in the group and position within the up—particularly under conditions of populations newly experiencing wth and crowding—apt to result in specific disease syndromes or merely in reased general susceptibility to illness? This question is the subject of isiderable controversy at the moment, and both points of view have been ;ly argued. In a penetrating review on the subject, Thurlow (53) indicates t the argument centers around the question of whether certain stimuli, ticularly of a social and psychological nature, operate in a nonspecific hion to increase general susceptibility to all illnesses or whether such nuli merely increase the predilection for illness reporting and illness be-dor. Another point of view holds that the nonspecific effect of social icesses is but a reflection of our ignorance; with further study more spe-.c "agents" will be discovered for which these social processes can be aaiized as "vehicles." These agents, it is held, will be related to some cific disease entity. Most of these arguments are based upon the supposi-n that social and emotional processes are the direct initiators of disease iditions through the activation of inappropriate neuro-endocrine arousal chanisms. While this may be a useful formulation, the animal work men-ned earlier seems to indicate that a more likely role of social factors is to rease the susceptibility of the organism to disease-producing agents; that is, act in an indirect fashion in the etiology of any disease syndrome or :tern. In other words, the health consequences of such social processes are ;ly to be nonspecific. The manifestations of specific disease syndromes will dependent not upon the specific nature of the social processes but upon : presence or absence of other disease-producing agents of a biological or a